Thiruvananthapuram | Thousands of tiny tots were entered into the world of letters and knowledge in Kerala on the auspicious Vijayadasami day on Tuesday, marking the culmination of the nine-day-long annual Navratri festival.
According to Hindu tradition, Vijayadasami is observed as the day of "Vidyarambham', the beginning of learning, in the southern state.
Besides temples, schools, cultural institutions, local libraries, and media houses made elaborate arrangements for "ezhuthiniruthu" - the initiation ceremony.
Children and their parents thronged these places in huge numbers from early morning to take part in the ritualistic ceremony.
As per the custom, scholars, writers, teachers, priests and other prominent figures in society make children write their first letters of learning on the occasion. They help the tots, usually aged two to three years, write "HariSree" on platters filled with rice, or it is scribbled on a child's tongue with a golden ring.
Though predominantly a Hindu custom, the Vidyarambham ceremony has assumed a secular dimension in Kerala over the years, with people belonging to other religions also initiating their wards into the world of letters on the same day.
Temples, especially those dedicated to Saraswathi, the goddess of learning and art, like Panachikkadu Saraswathi Temple in Kottayam district, witnessed a heavy rush in the early morning. Besides this, well-known shrines like Sri Padmanabha Swami Temple and Guruvayur Sree Krishna Swamy Temple also saw a heavy rush of devotees.
Media houses, including television channels and newspapers, also made elaborate arrangements to mark the day when prominent cultural and literary personalities initiated children into the world of letters.
The auspicious day also saw many people start learning dance and music.
In Raj Bhavan, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan initiated a group of tiny tots into the world of knowledge in an elaborate 'ezhuthiniruthu' ceremony organised there.